Chris Kelvin George Clooney
Rheya Kelvin Natascha McElhone
Snow Jeremy Davies
Helen Gordon Viola Davis
Gibarian Ulrich Tukur
Berton Morgan Rusler

20th Century Fox presents a film written, directed, photographed and edited by Steven Soderbergh. Based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem. Running time: 99 minutes. Rated R (for some sexuality/nudity).

Central Theme
Death has no dominion over man, for at death we are liberated and redeemed from this imperfect life. In death we truly become one, all is forgiven and we are fully united with the ones we love.

Psychiatrist Chris Kelvin has experienced the tragic suicide of his troubled wife Rheya, and struggles with guilt for his failures in their relationship. He goes through the motions of everyday life until one day he receives an urgent message from Gibarian, a friend and captain of an exploratory space journey to the Planet Solaris. Something mysterious is happening on board ship and Chris is ideally suited to deal with the crisis. He mounts the good ship Athena (Greek goddess of wisdom, skills and warfare) and upon his arrival at the space station discovers a trail of blood stains, Gibarian dead by suicide, Snow in a near catatonic state, and Helen Gordon locked in her quarters. Snow and Helen show signs of severe emotional trauma. After only one night aboard the ship Chris learns why when he is visited by his deceased wife.

Everyone in the crew has experienced a visitation from a loved-one. This creation seems to be facilitated by the planet Solaris, which reads their minds, and delivers their wishes. But what does the planet want? Why does it do this? Helen feels it is essential to prevail (she represents humans unwilling to accept a reality they cannot understand or control).

These replicates have no memory of their own, but operate on the memories deposited in the mind of their creator. Rheya says, ¢â‚¬ËœI’m not the person I remember. I don’t remember experiencing these things¢â‚¬¦I’m suicidal because that’s how you remember me.’ The rest of the crew concludes that these visitors are not real, but are the creation of their own subconscious. Buoyed by his reunion with Rheya, and hoping to redeem himself for his past failures, Chris does not want to believe this theory, but there is ample evidence that all is not well with Rheya and he begins to realizes his memories of her only reflect his perspective of events. In this sense he never knew her very well at all on earth, with each of them remembering their life together in completely different ways.

Trying to understand and solve the mysteries of the mind is what Chris does best, but this time he is in over his head and he suspects he may lose his mental grip as have the other crewmembers.

The film abounds with theories of reality, God, life after death, the nature of life, guilt and redemption, but only those with a heavy tolerance for freshman philosophy will find the posing of these questions and deliberations over their answers satisfying.

The observations regarding our limited knowledge of other people and the limitations of our memory is, however, an important one. How well do you really know the person you love most? Are you haunted by the realization that their perception of shared experiences differs radically from yours and forms a barrier to true intimacy? Notice the theme of oneness visually expressed at the conclusion of the film as Solaris begins to contract into a perfect circle, looking almost like a single cell. This visualization posits the theory that we begin as one (when the egg is fertilized by the sperm) and at death we become one with those we love–that is the nature of redemption.

Beautifully filmed, well acted, but trapped in existential theory, go along for the cinematic ride, but don’t be taken by the philosophical, theological drivel.

Beliefs num
–We are severely limited in our ability to truly know another human.
–Even humans we know best are understood from our perspective as processed through our mind.
–There is a reality beyond our comprehension.
–Things will get better when we die.
–We will not remember the details of this life, only the relationships.
–The only thing that matters on earth is relationships, and when we die we will be rejoined with those significant people in our lives.
–In a new and richer life after death, all will be healed and forgiven, guilt will be gone.
–There is no right and wrong, but there are choices to be made.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Do you believe in life after death?
–What happens when we die?
–Will we be reunited with the ones we love?
–Will all be healed and made whole there?
–Is there a place, like Solaris, to which we go in death?
–Are we resurrected after we die?
–Will we remember our earthly life when we die?
–What role, if any, does God play in all of this?
–On what do you base your beliefs about the afterlife?

Provocative Quotes byline
–I love you so much. Don’t you love me anymore?
==Rheya to Chris before her death and opening lines of the film.
–And death shall have no dominion. Dead men naked they shall be one With the man in the wind and the west moon; When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone, They shall have stars at elbow and foot; Though they go mad they shall be sane, Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; Though lovers be lost love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.
==Dylan Thomas poem Chris quotes when he first meets Rheya and then again when they are reunited.
–I need your help. I need you to come to Solaris. I don’t know how to describe what is happening here. Your experience makes you the ideal candidate for this job. I hope you come. I think you need to.
==Gibarian challenging Chris to come.
–Can you tell me what is happening here?
==Chris repeatedly asks Snow and Helen.
–I want it to stop. But I want to stop it. If I can stop it that means I’m stronger than it.
==Helen top Chris.
–As we study Solaris it seems to be really aware, like it knows it is being observed.
–Chris, I love you so much. Don’t you love me anymore?
==Rheya repeats the exact words we heard at the beginning of the movie.
–I don’t really remember anything. I only remember you.
==Rheya to Chris,
–The whole idea of God was made up by humans. Even the limitations we put on it-designer, creator.
==Chris at a party.
–That doesn’t mean there is a God.
==Chris when Rheya observes that humans are the only species aware of their own existence.
–I don’t understand and I don’t think I can handle it.
==Rheya to Chris as she explains she doesn’t really remember her life with him.
–We are in a situation beyond morality. Your wife is dead. She’s a copy, a facsimile. And she is seducing you all over again. We’re not bringing her back with us.
==Helen to Chris.
–This is why you have to leave. If you think there is a solution you’ll die here. Can’t you figure it out? There are no answers, there are only choices.
–Can’t you see? I come from your memory of her. I’m not a live person.
==Rheya to Chris.
–I don’t think we are predestined to relive our mistakes. I believe you can make choices.
==Chris to Rheya.
–It created me, yet I can’t communicate with it. It must hear me. It must know what is happening to me.
==Rheya to Chris.
–I know you love her and I love you. Maybe there is a place we can live in that. But it is not on earth and it is not on this ship.
==Rheya to Chris.
–Whatever it is, it’s not human. I’m frightened by that. I want humans to win.
==Helen on why she wants to destroy Rheya.
–Earth. Even the word seems strange, unfamiliar, but I was haunted by the idea that I remembered her wrong.
==Chris after returning to earth.
–We don’t have to think like that anymore. We are together now. Everything we have done is forgiven now, everything.
==Rheya after Chris asks whether he is alive or dead.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in November 27, 2002 by | No Comments »

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